Blog Entry

Yankees eye Ibanez; Damon the better choice

Posted on: February 7, 2012 5:31 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 6:21 pm

The Yankees have a little spending money to add a position player or two, and at least at the moment seem to be focused on Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez.

Chavez is a terrific choice. He performed well when healthy his first year in the Bronx, fit perfectly into the clubhouse and plays third base, which is needed now that Alex Rodriguez appears to be moving rapidly into middle age.

But Ibanez? Nothing against Ibanez personally, but he is at best the third best choice on the board to fill the DH spot. Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, two more proven New York players, are still available and better options than Ibanez, who had a .289 on-base percentage last year. While Ibanez hit 20 home runs last year, he has the added issue of never having been a regular DH. Which is what they need.

A bunch of nice stories have been written on Ibanez, all pointing out what a nice fellow he is, and that is true. But Damon and Matsui already played for the Yankees, and both of those players thrived in New York, both on the field and in the clubhouse. Damon is a leader who was willing to do the tough interviews when many hide, and Matsui was beloved by everyone.

Even if it is stipulated that Ibanez is a sweetheart (and by all accounts he is), more to the point, Damon put together a much better year than Ibanez in 2011. Damon posted a .743 OPS, better than Ibanez''s .707 or Matsui's .696 (Matsui has the excuse of playing in Oakland last year but Ibanez was in hitter friendly Citizens Bank Park). Ibanez bring a bit more power (he had 20 home runs to Damon's 16), but Damon also has the added dimension of speed (19 steals last year), and at 38 he's a year younger than Ibanez, who'll turn 40 this summer.

The Yankees did a salary dance two years ago with Damon, who wound up going to the Tigers that year before moving to the Rays last year. And it's also very probable he has better other options than Ibanez and more leverage, as he's been connected to the Mariners, A's and Orioless, so he may cost a few dollars more. Ibanez has only been connected to the Tigers, who have no need for him since signing Prince Fielder, plus the Mets, who are trying to start a fire with their two nickels.

Regardless, with all the players having an interest in coming to New York to play for a contender, the Yankees are in excellent position here to get who they want at a reasonable price. They could get Damon on a good deal. No reason for baseball's richest team to try to save a few pennies and sign the sweet fellow who made outs at an alarming rate last year.



Since: Feb 16, 2012
Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:16 am

3 Aging Infielders?

I understand Alex Rodriguez and Jeter, but I really don't think that Tex is a liability age wise yet. He's only 31.

Since: Feb 16, 2012
Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:12 am

Manny Ramirez?

Or, you can go with the better choice: Damon. Damon is a more reliable hitter than Ramirez, who hasn't played since last April. Damon is also quicker. Don't know where you came up with Ramirez, and the yankees are about redemption. Nevertheless, they would not ruin the DH spot for Manny, even if it's just for April. Damon is more reliable, and Ibanez has no good stats. Matsui would work to, and he was a fan favorite.

Since: Sep 17, 2011
Posted on: February 12, 2012 6:00 pm

Yankees eye Ibanez; Damon the better choice

The fact is the Yankees, who have always been the team of redemption, whether it was Daryl or Dwight or even Mantle and certainly Billy Martin, should bring Manny Ramirez to the Bronx...He's a Washington Heights boy, and my bet is he'd behave like a mensch before the home town crowd...If he can't cut the mustard, then give him the heave-ho...If he delivers, the Yankees win more than 100 games...HG

Since: May 24, 2007
Posted on: February 11, 2012 8:42 am

Yankees eye Ibanez; Damon the better choice

You have to understand what the Yankee DH will be. He will bat against right handed pitchers on the days that ARod, Jeter, or Tex are not getting a 1/2 day off. So maybe 1/3 or 1/4 of the bats for the year. Not a lot for some players. They do have a quality lefty hitter in AAA I think his name is Vasquez, sorry about the spelling, had a good spring last year but no room for him. Point is not a ton of bats available as DH here. So some of these guys may not be interested. This is a great spot to give fielding time off to his 3 aging infielders and should be used that way.

Since: Jun 13, 2008
Posted on: February 11, 2012 7:34 am

Yankees eye Ibanez; Damon the better choice

I don't think Ibanez is the type of player who can DH,especially if you're gonna ask him to be a platoon DH,I think it would be a wasted roster spot.I say all this with the full knowledge of Ibanez playing with Kansas City & Seattle,2 AL teams with DH eligibility obviously but I still don't think he'll be able to do it partially because he's aging.When Raul Ibanez signed his last deal with the Phillies I snapped him up in my Fantasy Draft because he'd always been an RBI producer with some power & I was sure he'd get his HRs playing Citizens Bank Ballpark & it paid off for me though I didn't win a championship which was no fault of Ibanez he gave me what I expected from him 

Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: February 10, 2012 4:44 pm

Yankees eye Ibanez; Damon the better choice

he has the added issue of never having been a regular DH. Which is what they need.
Yea, ok,  this is a "true skill".  Sit on your @$$ the entire game and come in to take 4-5 abs a game.  Sorry Raul you are too dumb to master doing that according to these guys.

Since: Aug 13, 2010
Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:47 pm

Yankees eye Ibanez; Damon the better choice

Without the Yankees checkbook, he couldn't have made those "mistakes" in the first place.

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:38 pm

Yankees eye Ibanez; Damon the better choice

Chamberlain never had a long term deal and hasn't made much in MLB yet so that is incorrect. Also, Yankee haters need to get that Kennedy trade out of their head . Hello they have the Grandy Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was an equal trade enough said !! Yes, Pavano was a real bad trade but although Burnett is erratic and is definetely over paid he did win one ring!!! I can name so many bad deals through out sports . Everyone wishes they had a crystal ball to tell them which players will produce after they get the big money but they don't.

Since: Feb 10, 2012
Posted on: February 10, 2012 9:37 am

Yankees eye Ibanez; Damon the better choice

I think Cashmans record of World Series wins easily places him in the top 3 GM's. If I can fault the Yankees for  anything it's their choices for pitchers and the accompanying long-term deals, that is somewhat suspect. Burnett, Pavano and Chamberlain come to mind.I'm still smarting from Kennedy's trade. I wonder when his trade will come back to haunt the Bombers ?

As for Damon they could sign him on the fact that his wife is some sweet eye candy. ; )

Since: Feb 9, 2012
Posted on: February 10, 2012 8:35 am

Yankees eye Ibanez; Damon the better choice

This is an accurate report. Matsui scares me the most as a Boston fan. He smokes the ball at Fenway and will have far better numbers playing in the Bronx. I would hate to see either of them don pinstripes again, but it's inevitable. By re-signing Andrue Jones as a platoon partner, DH will be a most productive spot for the Yankees.

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